When HB 1139 -- also known as the Bake Sale Bill -- was signed into law in June 2011 by Governor Rick Perry, it set a precedent in Texas for so-called Cottage Food Bills that allow small, independent bakers and other culinary artisans to make and sell food from their homes.
Former Houston Press food critic Robb Walsh profiled the "pirate bakers," canners and tamale-makers who fought to have greater freedoms in selling their goods in his feature "Come and Bake It" in February 2011 -- just a few short months before the bill was finally passed.
"Bake sales and homemade tamales are only two of a long list of beloved Texas food traditions that health authorities are stamping out," Walsh wrote of the dark days before the State of Texas saw the light.
"Your tax dollars are also helping eradicate the dewberry jam, mayhaw and muscadine jellies, and other preserves that were once sold at farm stands," Walsh continued. "To the disappointment of many budding local food entrepreneurs, homemade food products may not be sold at farmers' markets either."
Not only has that changed, now the state is allowing even more goods to be brought to farmers markets -- and it should be easier now, too.More »